The steps to training your posterior chain

Jackie Wright
The Fitness Trail

When considering the muscles of the posterior chain, keep in mind that this includes the entire posterior aspect of the body, not just the glutes and hamstrings. In fact, the posterior chain involves all of the muscles from the base of the skull to the heels of the feet. Why is it imperative to train the posterior chain of the body regularly?

In part to balance the anterior and posterior chains to provide us with enhanced stability, prevent strength imbalances which may lead to injuries and to enable the body to become more fluid, mobile, agile, strong, powerful and flexible. The anterior chain of the body, including muscles such as the pectorals, biceps and quadriceps, become stronger than the posterior chain counterparts such as the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, triceps and hamstrings, due to the demands of our daily functional activities placing considerable stress upon our anterior chain muscles.

Consequently, consider this strategy to manage some of the imbalances – for every anterior chain exercise you perform, perform two posterior chain exercises. While this may not eliminate imbalances entirely since our daily functional activities will continue, strengthening the posterior chain consistently, may lead to a more balanced body. This week, check out the following two muscular strength exercises (there are hundreds of options) which emphasize the posterior chain and begin to experience enhanced balance, stability and strength. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Posterior Chain Exercises – perform one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of these exercises to a point of momentary muscle failure, on two-three non-consecutive days of the week.

Dead Lifts – Hex Bar

– Hex bars often weigh 50 pounds unloaded. You may add plates onto the bar secured with a clamp. Keep in mind that if you only use the bar, you will have to hinge further down toward the floor. If this will be problematic for your lumbar spine, then use a heavy dumbbell turned on its end instead. Standing with feet approximately shoulder distance apart inside the Hex bar, hold onto the bar grips and hinge from the hips, keep the back flat, specifically the middle back, gazing straight at the wall in front of you, pressing the tailbone to the wall behind you, knees relaxed, arms lengthened throughout and drive through the heels until the entire body is standing erect again. Then, lower back into the hinged position and set the bar down briefly (i.e. dead weight-hence “dead lift”) and repeat. *Trains the glutes/hamstrings/nose to toes core.

Inverted Rows – TRX – lying supine under the TRX anchor point with the straps shortened so that when you are holding the handles your arms are completely straight. Make certain the chest is directly under the anchor point, legs flexed at the knee joint, and soles of feet on the floor. Engaging the lats (wide part of the back), pull the body up to the handles and then lower back down without touching the body to the floor.

*You must be able to pull all of the way up completing the range of motion. Otherwise, come into a standing position, place the body as far under the TRX as possible and perform the less intense version of the inverted row.

**Predominately trains the latissimus dorsi and nose to toes core.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at, her email at and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.

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